It’s estimated that there are 1.3 million active-duty service members and more than 800,000 in reserves. To show appreciation for the sacrifices made by these men and women, the Department of Education has put into place several benefits, including those that relate to repayment of student loans.
The Department of Defense announced a new policy in April that went into effect this month that will allow the government to automatically provide members of the military serving in war zones with a student loan benefit. The policy is based on a data-sharing agreement between DOD and the Department of Education that will allow the agencies to automatically determine which service members qualify to eliminate interest on their student loans while actively serving in combat areas.
This benefit has been available since 2008 but few borrowers have received it, most likely because the service members have not known what actions to take or that the benefit exists. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau raised this issue in 2015 and estimated that at the time, service members who should have been exempt from interest had paid more than $100 million in unnecessary interest charges.
To learn about more benefits, check out our post on the Student Loan Ranger Blog!